The CMO's Guide to the New Facebook

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Facebook’s launch of Timeline for brands requires marketers to prioritize content strategy and engaging experiences more than ever. Gone are the days when accumulating "Likes" is an acceptable key …

Facebook’s launch of Timeline for brands requires marketers to prioritize content strategy and engaging experiences more than ever. Gone are the days when accumulating "Likes" is an acceptable key performance indicator. Now companies must carefully develop editorial and engagement plans in order to use Facebook to build connected brands – or close relationships with audiences formed by being useful, usable, desirable, visible, and engaging.

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  • 1. Tarah Feinberg, Head of Live Media StudioAshmi Elizabeth Dang, Engagement PlannerGabriela Lazzaro, Engagement PlannerLexi Scholes, Audience ManagerNirmal Nijjar, Senior Media ManagerICROSSING POV:Facebook’s launch of Timeline for brands requires marketers to prioritize content strategy and engagingexperiences more than ever. Gone are the days when accumulating "Likes" is an acceptable key performanceindicator. Now companies must carefully develop editorial and engagement plans in order to use Facebookto build connected brands – or close relationships with audiences formed by being useful, usable, desirable,visible, and engaging.This document contains key takeaways, updates, and several recommended next steps for marketersregarding Facebook Timeline for brands. iCrossings Live Media Studio will be testing the new features inorder to update our best practices documentation and optimize effectiveness for our clients.THE CMO’S GUIDE TO THE NEW FACEBOOKFACEBOOK TIMELINE FOR MARKETERS: BRANDS MUST BE PUBLISHERS NOW MORE THAN EVERSabeen H. Ahmad, Audience ManagerKashem Miah, Audience ManagerCasey Savio, Audience ManagerDoug Platts, Senior Director, Natural SearchWritten by:1© ICROSSING. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. KEY TAKEAWAYS: HOW THE CHANGES AFFECTS MARKETERSAs of March 30, all Facebook Pages will migrate to the Timeline format – providing brands with the ability to creatively personalizetheir Pages and greatly expand engagement through a diverse set of post types. With the update, Facebook has evolved into afull-scale, social marketing platform with a greater focus on three key areas:1. Expression: A Page’s visual branding and narrative2. Reach: New ways to ensure greater, more meaningful engagement on the web and on mobile through Pinned Posts, FriendActivity, Starred Content, Milestones and Backdating, Offers, and Open Graph applications3. Response: Expanded Admin and new Message featuresThese changes are most reflected in the ability to brand the Page and curate posts on the highly visual Timeline, which is anextremely powerful story-telling and strategic tool for marketers. It offers a richer, more diverse collection of content aroundexperiences, events, and topics that brands can capitalize on in highly engaging ways.
  • 2. THE CMOS GUIDE TO THE NEW FACEBOOK2© ICROSSING. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MARCH 2012THE NEW TIMELINE FOR BRANDS+ Better defines the brand through a much more visual layout (See: Red Bull)+ Connects with consumers on a deeper level by bringing a brand’s history, meaningful stories and key milestones to life inTimeline (See: The New York Times and Coca-Cola)+ Builds better consumer relationships with the ability to receive and respond to direct messages and monitor post-level activitythrough the updated Admin Panel, creating the opportunity for greater one-to-one and overall responsive messaging+ Allows consumers to more prominently see how their Friends are engaging with the brand in three ways:1. The number of Friends who have Liked the Page2. A view of Status Updates a Friend has written about the brand, regardless of whether they’ve Liked it or tagged itin the post3. As rollout expands, a view of Friends’ interactions with branded apps utilizing Facebook Open Graph (e.g. Spotify)+ Adds a new post type called Offers, allowing brands to feature direct marketing promotions and deals on their Page (free) andas ads, which can be claimed and shared by Fans and their Friends+ Makes real-time earned and paid media connections that multiply reach and engagement through "Reach Generator,"including Facebook’s updated Sponsored Stories and new premium ad unitsiCrossing encourages brands to populate their Timelines and test different views and settings prior to publishing. All FacebookBrand Pages will move to Timeline on March 30, 2012.QUICKSTART GUIDE: 10 KEY NEW FEATURES OF TIMELINE FOR BRANDS 1. Cover Photo (850 x 315 px). One of the most exciting new features of Timeline for Brands is the addition of Cover Photo,the first image a visitor will see when arriving to the Page. Cover Photo is where creativity begins. It should be thought ofas a visual status update as it sets the tone and theme for the Brand Page. Use this space as a cue of what’s to come andupdate it regularly to keep the community fresh and inviting.
  • 3. MARCH 20123© ICROSSING. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THE CMOS GUIDE TO THE NEW FACEBOOK2. Profile Picture (180 x 180 to 32 x 32). The logo in the Profile Picture is the visual representation of a brand’s voice acrossFacebook (i.e. News Feed, ads, and off-platform social plugins) in a 32 x 32 thumbnail. The iCrossing Live Media Studiorecommends use of the brand’s logo, which rarely, if ever, is changed, ensuring consistency and brand recognition.3. About (150 characters). Promotional copy in the About section is used to entice the target audience to engage with thePage. Additional characters are truncated with a "read more" link.4. Apps Thumbnails (111 x 74). Facebook Tabs are now apps, and left navigation is replaced with four thumbnail images anda drop-down arrow representing additional apps associated with the Page. The Photos app is fixed to the first position,leaving three configurable spaces in the default view.5. Were here’ Stat. For brands that have created physical locations in Facebook Places, a new metric is displayed showingthe number of people that have checked-in to a brand-related location.6. Pinned Posts. A new post strategy allows brands to curate content as a sticky post, and ‘pin’ it to the top left spot in itsTimeline for up to seven days, a prime position for above-the-fold exposure and greater engagement.7. Friends. Bringing the success of Sponsored Stories right into Timeline, the Friends box offers each visitor a unique view ofall Friends who have Liked the Page.8. Friend Activity. An extension of the box above, different types of activities are displayed in this space:+ A status update mentioning the brand, regardless of whether it is @tagged or not+ A ‘was here’ story for a check-in to a retail location+ Engagement via an Open Graph application – such as listening to a song on Spotify (friends listened) and watching aVEVO video (friends watched)
  • 4. THE CMOS GUIDE TO THE NEW FACEBOOK4© ICROSSING. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MARCH 20129. Starred Posts. As a way of drawing attention to content below the fold, highlight a post with a star and it expands acrossboth columns of Timeline.10. Backdating & Milestones. Through this feature, posts can tell a story in Timeline going as far back as 1000 A.D. Milestonesare used for key events and achievements, and ‘Change Date’ can place content on a precise day, month and year.
  • 5. MARCH 20125© ICROSSING. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THE CMOS GUIDE TO THE NEW FACEBOOKA DEEPER LOOK AT TIMELINE FOR BRANDSWith a greater focus on visuals in Timeline, there are many ways for brands to customize content, build audiences and engagement,and connect with influencers on Facebook. The following are some key updates iCrossing’s Live Media Studio suggests that brandspay particular attention to.Cover PhotoThrough Cover Photo, brands can define who they are, what is important to them, and the message they are looking to share withconsumers. Unlike the logo in the Profile Picture, Cover Photo should be regularly updated with newer images and preferably increative ways, as it is an excellent opportunity for brands to engage their audience. It should be noted that per Facebook’s Termsof Service, this section may not feature:+ Contact information+ Calls-to-action+ Price or purchase information+ References to Facebook features such as "Like" or "Share" (no arrows pointing to buttons)Below are some examples of unique ways brands are using Cover Photo:AT&T features a rotating mosaic of consumers’ photos.The New York Times humanizes their brand, showcasing staff and headquarters.
  • 6. THE CMOS GUIDE TO THE NEW FACEBOOK6© ICROSSING. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MARCH 2012Page AppsWith the launch of Timeline, there is now a maximum allowance of 12 apps per Page. With only three non-native apps appearingabove the fold, brands must strategically consider which ones to highlight in these spaces.A new feature of Timeline allows brands with retail shops to include the Maps app, which displays nearby locations based on IPaddress, and when available, mobile GPS.Public InsightsUnder Timeline, all Facebook users clicking the "Likes" app now have the ability to see high-level Page Insights, which previouslywere available only to Page Administrators. These include:+ People talking about this (featured as a highlight)+ Aggregate total Likes (featured as a highlight)+ Most popular week+ Most popular city+ Most popular age group+ New Likes per week (graphically represented)+ Weekly number of people talking about the Page(graphically represented)+ Friends who Like the Page (featuring avatars)Timeline also displays monthly activity posts that include "people who Like this" and "people talking about this" insights. Thiscontent cannot be hidden.
  • 7. MARCH 20127© ICROSSING. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THE CMOS GUIDE TO THE NEW FACEBOOKPinned PostsPage Administrators can now curate engaging posts or prioritize messaging by "pinning" content to the first position of the leftcolumn on Timeline. By pinning a particular post with the small orange flag, you make the pin visible in two locations:1. At the top of Timeline for up to seven days, always preceding any new content that is posted afterwards2. In its chronological place in the TimelineIf a brand seeks to keep a post pinned for longer than seven days, it can be re-pinned for an additional seven after the initial weekexpires. Only one post can be pinned at a time, although it can be changed at the brand’s discretion.Pinned posts are a great opportunity for brands to highlight important content and keep priority messages or communications alivefor maximum visibility and engagement.Starred and Hidden StoriesOn the new Timeline, it is now possible for brands to feature important and well-received stories by adding a star, thus expanding thepost from a single side on Timeline to span across both columns. This feature will help consumers quickly see what the brand findsimportant or interesting and drive activity down the Page. Unlike Pinned Posts, brands can star multiple stories throughout Timeline.Additionally, Page Administrators can now hide or delete stories on the Timeline that aren’t as engaging or relevant.Friend ActivityThe new Timeline features social mentions and Friend activity in a completely different format than in previous iterations ofFacebook. Consumers are now able to quickly see their Friends’ activities and opinions in relation to the brand in a column at thetop right hand side and scattered throughout Timeline. Here consumers can see which of their friends already “Like” the Page andstories their friends have created about the brand. The stories pulled here are based on mentions of and links to brand across onlineproperties and will be unique to every user.An important point to note: Brands do not need to be @tagged to be included in this stream. Consequently, brands need to considersome critical implications. Because stories here are pulled by the simple mention of a brand, the content of a Friend’s post maycontain positive or negative sentiments.
  • 8. THE CMOS GUIDE TO THE NEW FACEBOOK8© ICROSSING. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MARCH 2012Paid Media and MarketingFacebook’s new changes emphasize an opportunity for brands to tell stories while also amplifying their reach for greater ROI. Thereare a number of ways to utilize Facebook in this way:Reach Generator: A service that gives marketers the opportunity to increase reach through premium placement of posts as premiumads in four locations across Facebook (on the web and on mobile), increasing the number of Fans who see branded content.Facebook guarantees that brands utilizing the premium ad platform will reach 50 percent of its Fans weekly and an estimated 75percent each month. Brands should highly consider purchasing this offering for a quarterly investment of twenty-to-forty cents perPage Fan. Reach Generator allows brand placement in the following four areas:+ On the right hand side of the homepage (1)+ Sponsored distribution in the Facebook News Feed on web (2) and mobile (3)+ On the Facebook logout screen (4) – a new offering where display ads are visible on the logout screenOffers: This new post type allows brands, for the first time to feature one-click access to promotional deals on Timeline. Consumersand their friends will be able to instantly redeem and share these promotions on Facebook. Offers, in combination with the ability topin or star posts, are an opportunity to connect a campaign or promotion with the audience in an exciting new way. As expected,Offers will be visible as social shares on Facebook and other sites as well. Creating an Offer is free for Page owners, just like anyother post. Brands, however, can pay to boost the unit into a Sponsored Story through the Admin Panel ad tool, or a premium unitas described above.Admin PanelTimeline’s new administrative features will have significant positive implications, particularly for customer service issue resolution.By clicking the Admin Panel at the top of Timeline, audience managers immediately get a snapshot of Page notifications, messagesand Insights. It provides a clearer dashboard to manage the Page, communications with Fans, and also to evaluate key metricsand performance.
  • 9. MARCH 20129© ICROSSING. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THE CMOS GUIDE TO THE NEW FACEBOOKThe following are key changes to note:+ Messages. A key new feature of Facebook is the ability for anyone to directly message the brand, and for the audiencemanager to privately respond to the individual. Audience managers can also easily keep track of conversations that haveoccurred within the social space.+ Manage. With this option, Page administrators will be able to edit brand page content, see banned users, and get a snapshotof the Page activity with the option: "Use Activity Log."+ Build Audience. Replacing the "Create a Facebook Ad" link that Facebook page administrators often came across, Timelinenow has a "Build Audience" tab on the Admin Panel, which allows for the quick creation of a non-premium ad unit. Takinginto consideration the greater emphasis the platform now places on paid media, audience managers can quickly createSponsored Stories based on content that is highly-engaging at that moment. Brands now have a greater opportunity toleverage earned and bought media in real-time.+ Referrals. A new component in the Insights Dashboard is the ability to view mobile traffic referrals. Considering Facebook’s200 million+ mobile users, access to this data – which includes mobile demographics and the types of handheld devicesused to reach the site – will benefit brands looking for detailed analytics. Line graphs of mobile traffic sources will includereferrals from:— Feed and Timeline – via clicks directly from a user’s Feed, as well as his or her Timeline— Notifications – via requests sent on mobile web, iOS and Android— Bookmarks – clicks to a brand’s Facebook app via Bookmarks. Facebook members will instantly see Bookmarksonce logged into the app (note that Bookmarks will sync across mobile and desktop so that the most frequently usedapps are easily accessible on the site)— Search – indicates the number of clicks to a brand’s app via direct search— Unknown – redirected referrals to a brand’s app+ Admin Levels. Beginning in April, Facebook will rollout five levels of Page Admin access (more information is pending).MilestonesSimilar to personal profiles, which begin on a person’s date of birth, Timeline for Pages can begin on an organization’s foundingdate. Brands also have the ability to fill out Timeline as far back as the year 1000 A.D. and to tell the brand story by backdatingcontent for achievements and important events from the past. The iCrossing Live Media Studio recommends the heavy use ofmultimedia such as images and videos, which will expand the visual aesthetic of the page, drawing greater engagement andpositively impacting EdgeRank.
  • 10. THE CMOS GUIDE TO THE NEW FACEBOOK10© ICROSSING. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MARCH 2012THE BROADER IMPLICATIONS OF FACEBOOK TIMELINE FOR BRANDSFocusing a brand’s efforts on greater engagement, will affect search engine optimization via the ripple effect. Here are three areashow we believe SEO will be affected:Brand SearchesWith the increase in awareness around the history of a brand, we also expect an increase in “brand history” related searches.Discovering key milestones of a brand of interest will drive a content searcher either directly to Facebook for more information or tosearch engines to discover more about the topic.Brands need to ensure they own this search space by creating relevant brand history hubs on their own sites, as well as having up-to-date content on sites such as YouTube and Wikipedia. These types of queries should also be reviewed for any type of negativebrand sentiment, which may require further brand management within the search results.Social SignalsAs new content appears on a brand’s main website, increased engagement on Facebook allows for the greater likelihood that thisnew content will be shared on audience Timelines. That sharing, in turn, will send stronger signals to search engines to rank thiscontent higher for related search terms through these increased social signals (Likes, shares, etc.).Query FreshnessWhen Google identifies a hot trending topic, it then prioritizesits search rankings based on what is deemed most relevant,fresh and popular at that time, rather than more traditionalranking signals.If a brand produces content around a trending topic (e.g. anevent or breaking news), then increased sharing of that contentvia Facebook, will in turn increase its visibility in search engineresults pages.
  • 11. MARCH 201211© ICROSSING. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THE CMOS GUIDE TO THE NEW FACEBOOKInfluencersiCrossing highly recommends brands make better use of Facebook to understand who their advocates are and to actively cultivatethose relationships. For example, the new Facebook admin panel makes it possible for brands to identify influencers more directlyand serve those influencers exclusive content, including cross-links. By having influencers cross-link to their sites, brands cangain further authority (whether via traditional links or social signals) within search engines, and can simultaneously improve brandvisibility for relevant keywords and search terms.NEXT STEPS: TESTING AND LEARNINGCreativity Tells The StoryThe new Facebook Timeline allows brands an abundance of new opportunities to refresh their engagement strategy. Before divinginto the new format, we offer brand managers a few next steps for a smooth transition.The actual Timeline stream should focus on content that is visually engaging, easy-to-consume, and highly-shareable. Here are afew ways to take advantage of the new visual changes:+ Use the milestone feature to mark important events in your brand’s history+ Emphasize your brand’s story with compelling images+ Curate the Timeline with backdated stories to give it a time-capsule-like feel+ Pin and star engaging content; promote product launches, contests, photos, offers and announcementsFluid Content CalendarAccording to Facebook, content from brand pages has an average organic reach of 16 percent of the total fan base. Therefore,cutting through the noise to get to someone’s news feed can be challenging with the launch of reach generator premium ads.Brands should regularly create highly-engaging content, while continuously testing and optimizing it. Consequently, brands musthave a clear and fluid calendar that can be edited at a moment’s notice to incorporate content that is engaging and reaches theirtarget audience.Public Insights: Test and LearnFor brands, the new public Insights are important in several ways. First, they will make it more difficult for brands to appear successfulthrough paid media campaigns and contests, as "Likes" will no longer be the sole visible measurement of engagement. Second,they are also a good way for brands to understand how their competitors are performing. Brands should use this opportunity tocreate benchmarks and continue testing new types of content to measure success against their competition.Additionally, the metrics will allow audience managers to identify content that’s worth pinning, starring, or using as a sponsoredstory. Consequently, brands have the ability to maximize engagement, reach, and understand what content types get amplified inthe news feed.Final ThoughtsThe iCrossing Live Media Studio will work with brands to evolve their content strategy and create a content calendar that emphasizesa test-and-learn approach to ensure immediate and prolonged success in the new Timeline format.STAY CONNECTEDFind out more at www.icrossing.comCall us toll-free at 866.620.3780Follow us on twitter @icrossing and @thecontentlabBecome a fan at facebook.com/icrossing